British Lions will play South Africa behind closed doors tour after revised schedule has been confirmed

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British and Irish lions play ALL matches on the tour of South Africa behind closed doors after revised schedule confirmed as a massive blow to the host country’s economy

  • British & Irish Lions will not play their tour of South Africa in front of fans
  • It had been hoped that some local spectators would be allowed into stadiums
  • But the National Coronavirus Command Council did not allow it after hearing
  • This is a huge setback for SA Rugby – and the wider economy in the country

The Lions are playing all of their games on the tour of South Africa behind closed doors – including the three Tests against the Springboks – after a revised schedule has been confirmed.

As previously reported by Sportsmail, it had been known for several weeks that traveling British and Irish fans would not be able to attend matches, but it was still hoped that some local spectators would be allowed in, in controlled numbers.

However, after the case was brought to the host country’s National Coronavirus Command Council last weekend, it has been confirmed that the South African Union (SA Rugby) is moving forward on the basis of empty stadiums.

Warren Gatland’s British & Irish Lions play in empty stadiums in South Africa

This is a crushing setback for SA Rugby – and the wider economy in the host country – as they will miss the one-time financial windfall generated by a full-capacity Lions tour.

The event was forecast to attract around 35,000 supporters from these islands by 2021. Instead, the fixtures now continue in hollow COVID-protected bubbles.

There will be eight games, including the tests, as originally planned, but the route has been changed to reflect the danger of disruption from the pandemic. All competitions take place in the province of Gauteng and in Cape Town.

Alun Wyn Jones and Co will compete and live in South African bio-secured bubbles

Alun Wyn Jones and Co will compete and live in South African bio-secured bubbles

Rather than taking on an SA Invitational side, the tourists will now take on the Johannesburg-based Lions, in their opener on July 3.

Despite fears that no crowds could lead to the entire tour being canceled – due to the prospect of financial losses – officials are continuing for the time being.

Lions director Ben Calveley said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted the global sports calendar, but after discussions with our partners at SA Rugby, we are very pleased to confirm the revised tour schedule.”

LIONS 2021 TOUR SCHEDULE

Saturday 3 July: Emirates Lions v The British & Irish Lions (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg) 5pm (BST)

Wednesday July 7: Cell C Sharks v The British & Irish Lions (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg) 7pm (BST)

Saturday July 10: Vodacom Bulls v The British & Irish Lions (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria) 5pm (BST)

Wednesday July 14: South Africa ‘A’ v The British & Irish Lions (Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town) 7pm (BST)

Saturday, July 17: DHL Stormers v The British & Irish Lions (Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town) 5 p.m. (BST)

Saturday July 24: Springboks v The British & Irish Lions (1st Test, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town) 5pm (BST)

Saturday July 31: Springboks v The British & Irish Lions (2nd Test, FNB Stadium, Johannesburg) 5pm (BST)

Saturday Aug 7: Springboks v The British & Irish Lions (3rd Test, FNB Stadium, Johannesburg) 5pm (BST)

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